Children's & Youth, Drama, Family, Historical Drama, History, Musical, Suspense/Thriller
Region: Ontario and Nunavut
Year of Production: 2016
Canadian Release Date: September 11, 2016
Duration: 25 minutes
Synopsis: 'World War One has ended. The men are coming home from the Great War: tired and worn out. So begins this short film about the impact of a returning soldier to the bosom of a rural farming family in Southern Ontario, Canada. The soldier carries a lot of emotional baggage. His best friend's dying request - from the trenches of Vimy Ridge in France - was that he look after the dying man's family in Canada. Shell-shocked 'Tom' returns to a bereft widow, Helen, and her two precocious children. The kids are somewhat blissfully unaware of the catastrophic tragedies of war. To them, war 'games' are FUN!
The film was shot during a wintery February of 2016 in North Halton & Flamborough County, in Southern Ontario, Canada. As the story unfolds, the fractured family try to cope. With little available food, and little prospect of work for the returning soldier, the children, Bella & Charlie decide to take matters into their own hands. Bella announces she will work at her Uncle's store, some five miles away.
She sets off, with Charlie trailing. All goes well enough. Uncle Harry lends a sympathetic ear to their troubles on the home front and tops off their visit with a generous gift of a big fat frozen goose. The children are beside themselves at the prospect of such abundance and set off home, happy, as dusk descends. Soon though, their tender imaginations feed on their feral fears. They short-cut through the woods, in search of the familiar, only to arouse the dark demons of uncertainty and doubt.
As the terrified kids crawl across a treacherous ice-splinting lake, the film ends with one swooping dramatic gesture. Tom, the battered soldier, is there. Surprisingly, not to harm them, but to save them. - And Helen awaits with a lantern on the shore.'
Created on the anniversary of Canada's involvement in WW1, this story manifests the trauma of war from several points of view. From the soldier. From the widow. From the innocence of children. Playful war games turn violent quick as danger increases. Underneath it all though is a desire for peace - genuine heart-felt and redemptive peace.
Director, Margaret Lindsay Holton, a fixture in the Canadian art & documentary scene for over 35 years, (known primarily for signature 'naive-surreal-folk-abstract' large format oil paintings of Canadiana as well as her tart award-winning Canadian-specific 'outsider' poetry, prose and doc shorts), is self-taught in the 'film world'. Admirer of Hitchcock, Shane Carruth & Xavier Dolan.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: MLH Productions
Cast/Participants: Leslie Gray, David C. MacLean, Rod McTaggart, John Fort, Hannah Ralph, Cameron Brindle,